Budgetary process and financial management
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Budgetary Process and Financial Management. Douglas Brown Pols 341 March 2013. Budgetary Process and Financial Management. Political Significance of the Budget Key Objectives of the Budget in Modern States The Revenue Budget The Expenditure Budget The Budget Cycle and Budget “Games”

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Budgetary process and financial management

Budgetary Process and Financial Management

Douglas Brown

Pols 341

March 2013


Budgetary process and financial management1

Budgetary Process and Financial Management

  • Political Significance of the Budget

  • Key Objectives of the Budget in Modern States

  • The Revenue Budget

  • The Expenditure Budget

  • The Budget Cycle and Budget “Games”

  • Financial Management inside Government

  • Scrutiny by Parliament and its agents


Political significance

Political Significance

  • The Budget is a key policy instrument

  • The Budget is a reliable indicator of government’s priorities

  • Political “spin” dominates budget discourse, both government and opposition

  • Budget documents hide as much as they reveal


Objectives of the budget in modern states

Objectives of the Budget in Modern States

1 Macroeconomic management

2 Policy tool for “micro-managing” the economy

3 Raising revenueto match government expenditures


1 macroeconomic management

1 Macroeconomic management

  • Attempts at economic stabilization, promoting growth

  • “Keynesian” policy of countering economic booms and busts (had been less emphasized until 2008)

  • Generally attempting to influence economic growth, inflation, employment


2 policy tool for micro managing the economy

2 Policy tool for “micro-managing” the economy

  • Use of “tax expenditures” to promote spending or savings by individuals and firms (e.g. retirement savings (RRSP), research tax credits)

  • Use of taxes to discourage certain activity (e.g. smoking, energy consumption)

  • Use of spending to encourage investment, provide infrastructure, subsidize industry, farming, etc.


3 raising revenue to match government expenditures

3 Raising revenueto match government expenditures

  • Determining the mix of taxes, tax rates and base

  • Estimating likely tax yields in the year ahead

  • Fine-tuning taxes, including cutting them

  • Projecting an overall budgetary position: balanced, deficit or surplus.


The revenue budget

The “Revenue Budget”

  • Overall statement about the national (provincial) economy

  • Selected messages about spending priorities, new programs, new tax measures (including cuts)

  • Formal Tabling in Parliament of the Estimates (for expenditures) and Motions of Ways and Means (for taxes and other revenue measures)


Expenditure budget

Expenditure Budget

  • Takes form in the “Main estimates”

  • Detailed department-by-department listings, tabled in Parliament

  • Different rules for different categories of expenditures:

    • Operating

    • Capital

    • Grants

    • Contributions, transfers

    • Non-budgetary loans, investments and advances


Forms of expenditure decision making

Forms of expenditure decision-making

  • Line-item budgeting – micro control of spending

  • Program budgeting – top-down strategic control, but letting the managers manage

  • Performance budgeting – flexibility in the face of changing needs


Budget players david good

Budget Players (David Good)

  • Spenders

  • Guardians

  • Priority Setters

  • Financial Watchdogs


3 key decisions david good

3 Key Decisions(David Good)

  • How much to spend

  • Where to spend it

  • How to manage it


The budget cycle

The Budget Cycle

  • Involves both long term strategic planning and short-term management of finances

  • Annual cycles geared to fiscal year, and a late winter or spring Budget speech

  • Bottom-up input from departments

  • Top-down setting of priorities and trade-offs by the Cabinet

  • Significant intermediary role by bureaucrats in Finance and Treasury Board


Post budget financial administration in the canadian federal government

Post-Budget Financial Administration in the Canadian Federal Government

  • Key Institutions involved

  • Key principles applied

  • Continuing issues


Institutions of financial administration 1

Institutions of Financial Administration 1

  • Financial Administration Act – legal basis for all expenditures

  • Parliament –votes supply, approves appropriations, committees review expenditures

  • Treasury Board – establishes spending rules, approves new programs and projects and supervises departments

  • Public Works and Government Services – centralized cheque-issuing, accounting

  • Line Departments – pre-audit procedures, internal post-audit


Institutions of financial administration 2

Institutions of Financial Administration 2

  • Comptroller-General – supervises departmental financial officers

  • Auditor-General – formal audit, reports directly to Parliament

  • Public Accounts Committee – parliamentary committee that reviews the work of the Auditor-General

  • Parliamentary Budget Officer


Key principles of financial administration

Key Principles of Financial Administration

  • Parliamentary oversight

  • Ministerial accountability

  • Checks and balances in the overall system

  • Value for money auditing


Continuing issues

Continuing Issues

  • Balancing act among three values:

    • Economy, Efficiency, Effectiveness

  • Is the Auditor-General too political?

  • Is accountability too excessive for effective management?


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